4. Key Findings
The EQIA has highlighted areas with potential impacts on different groups and opportunities for promoting equality.
The NHSScotland Breastfeeding Policy is expected to have a positive effect in eliminating unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation across all protected characteristics. This may be particularly evident in relation to disability, sex, pregnancy and maternity and gender reassignment. The Breastfeeding Policy:
- makes no differentiation on access to the policy in relation to any protected characteristic.
- supports the normalisation of breastfeeding.
- outlines the responsibilities for the employer and manager to create a positive culture to support breastfeeding in the workplace. This may also contribute to wider societal benefits.
- requires an individual risk assessment for employees breastfeeding or expressing milk. This provides scope for specific adaptations for employees with disability.
- recognising that NHSScotland has a predominantly female workforce (78.8% female), this will be a key policy for supporting employees who are, or intend to, breastfeed, chestfeed or express milk for a baby.
- recognises that breastfeeding does not exclusively apply to employees who identify as women. For some, descriptors such as chestfeeding may be more appropriate. This position has been added to policy scope.
- largely adopts gender-neutral language to support inclusion.
- reinforces compliance with the Equality Act (2010) and the Principles and Values | NHS Scotland.
- is written to fulfil legislative requirements and comply with statutory responsibilities.
The NHSScotland Breastfeeding Policy has a positive impact in advancing equality of opportunity across all protected characteristics. This may be particularly evident in relation to sex, pregnancy and maternity and gender reassignment. The Breastfeeding Policy:
- is open to all NHSScotland employees who are, or intend to, breastfeed, chestfeed or express milk for a baby.
- recognising that NHSScotland has a predominantly female workforce (78.8% female), will support a significant number of women to continue breastfeeding and return to work at a time of their choosing. This can support women’s continued presence in the workplace and career development. It may also help to narrow the gender pay gap, and advance equality to different groups of women.
- promotes inclusion through use of gender-neutral language.
- is accessible through a purpose built NHSScotland Workforce Policies website. The website scores high on the System Usability Scale (universal usability scoring system). This may particularly support older staff or staff with certain disabilities, advancing equality of opportunity through accessibility.
- advocates a person-centred approach in the application of all NHSScotland Workforce policies. This is demonstrated across the policy and supporting documents.
The NHSScotland Breastfeeding Policy has no negative impact in promoting good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not. The policy is open to all employees who are, or intend to, breastfeed, chestfeed or express milk for a baby. Managers are encouraged to take a person-centred approach.
Currently, there is no evidence of negative impacts on individuals with protected characteristics. Nevertheless, Scottish Government will continue to monitor and review this EQIA to ensure ongoing assessment of potential impacts on people with protected characteristics.
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